North Korea, US resume nuclear diplomacy with Sweden talks
October 05, 2019 09:21 AM
HELSINKI (AP) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday teams from North Korea and the United States have arrived in the Swedish capital to resume discussions on Pyongyang's nuclear program.
Pompeo, who is in Greece for the last leg of a European tour, said it's too early to know if the weekend talks will yield any progress that could eventually involve another meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.
"We hope that the North Koreans came with spirit and willingness to move forward to implement what President Trump and Chairman Kim agreed to back in Singapore" last year, said Pompeo in Athens.
Talks are being held at the Villa Elfvik Strand conference facility in Lidingo, an island in the Stockholm archipelago located northeast of the capital, Swedish news agency TT said. It added that North Korea's chief negotiator, Kim Myong Gil, arrived on Thursday while U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun came on Friday.
"We're mindful that this will be the first time we have had a chance to have a discussion in quite some time and that there remains a lot of work that will have to done by the two teams," Pompeo said.
He added that Washington hoped the meeting in Sweden would lead to "a set of dialogues that could take place in the coming weeks and months that will really deliver on the commitments that were made in Singapore."
Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde confirmed on Twitter the presence of delegations. Sweden was the first Western country to open an embassy in Pyongyang in 1975 and is a major contributor of humanitarian aid to North Korea. Because the U.S. does not have official diplomatic relations with North Korea, Sweden has often acted as a bridge between Washington and Pyongyang.
The discussions take place following an underwater-launched North Korean missile on Wednesday, which fell inside Japan's exclusive economic zone.
North Korea resumed missile tests after a second summit between Kim and Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam collapsed in February. Any progress in the talks could pave the way for a third summit between the leaders.
Matthew Lee reported from Athens, Greece.
By JARI TANNER and MATTHEW LEE
Updated: October 05, 2019 09:21 AM
Created: October 05, 2019 09:20 AM
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